Let me start by thanking the Government of Qatar for both hosting of the conference and their broader commitment to achieving peace and development in Darfur. This conference is an important part of the journey to Darfur’s recovery, bringing together political aspirations and development needs.
Thank you also to the Government of Sudan. Bringing peace and development to Darfur requires significant and sustained commitment from the Government more than anyone. We welcome the steps taken by the Government to implement the agreements with the Government of South Sudan. We hope and believe this will have a positive impact on the situation in both countries, including in Darfur.
We welcome the initial steps taken by the Government and the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) to implement the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). The establishment of key institutions in Darfur and the recent transfer of funds to the DRA lay the foundation for delivering the change needed by Darfuris, which we hope will in turn encourage the rebel movements to join the peace process. Still, much remains to be done as we heard yesterday.
The UK is committed to support this process. We believe the problems of Darfur can only be solved through peaceful means and we urge all sides to pursue peace. We will continue to strongly encourage the non-signatories to join the peace process.
We commend the DRA’s leadership in undertaking and completing the Darfur Joint Assessment Mission (DJAM) process, and the development of the Darfur Development Strategy (DDS), in collaboration with the five state Walis. This could not have been achieved without the support of the UNDP, World Bank and donor partners. The DDS is an excellent document providing a guide for all of us who seek to support recovery and reconstruction: we will align our future programming in Darfur with the strategy and call on all others to do the same.
We recognise the value of short-term interventions, demonstrating the tangible benefits of peace while laying a foundation for addressing the longer term recovery needs and the drivers of conflict in Darfur. Following this conference, we hope to see the detailed planning and prioritisation of these essential short-term activities.
But, if development in Darfur is to be effective, the operating environment needs to improve. Development partners need access to design, implement and monitor DDS priorities. We welcome the Government of Sudan’s new directives on access and look forward to seeing their full implementation on the ground, including by the state level authorities. We urge the government to extend this access to UNAMID so that they can fulfil their mandate.
Despite the progress made, Darfur faces ongoing security challenges. Conflict persists. For now, we need to remain responsive to humanitarian needs while undertaking development in a conflict sensitive way.
The UK will play our part in implementation of the DDS. We have made a significant commitment to Darfur over the past ten years, between 2011 and 2013 for example support reached almost a third of the population of Darfur with health and nutrition programmes. In recent years we have spent some £25 million a year, and this level of support will continue, as long as we see improvements in the security and access situations, in line with the commitment we heard yesterday from the Government of Sudan.
We commit today to align what we do with the DDS. This includes supporting our commitment, highlighted in the press yesterday, to 250,000 people to become food secure in Darfur by 2015 through our new resilience programme.
As well as this resilience programme we will prioritise those sectors where we either have existing expertise or have developed plans for engagement. These include water and sanitation, private sector and livelihoods development, governance and accountability, rule of law and the rights of women. We will also continue to provide humanitarian support where it is required and to support the work of UNAMID.
While development is essential to Darfur’s recovery and the realisation of enduring peace, grievances must be addressed. The UK will consider yet further support only if there are real improvements in meaningful political and economic participation of Darfuris.
This conference is an important milestone, and delivering agreed actions is essential. A coordinated and comprehensive approach is vital and we welcome the establishment of a coordination board to be the guardian of the DDS and to hold all parties to account for the success of this element of the DDPD.
In the end it is the people of Darfur to whom we are all accountable. 10 years after this round of conflict began they want change: they want peace and development. They must not be failed again.